Take a fantastic but understated Android handset, throw in a much larger battery and what do you get? One of the best Droids out there at the moment. See, whilst the RAZR may have sold modestly, the Maxx takes that design and - in exchange for a little bit of girth - bumps the battery from 1780mAh to a whopping 3300mAh. Wow.
Design and Build
OK, so we'll say it now. The Maxx is fatter than its predecessor. But don't panic - it's not obese. In fact, it's still one of the slimmest Android devices out there. It's still only 9mm in depth and although heavier, the original 127g has only upped to a more average 145g.
And the extra shape actually makes it much more pleasing on the hand. Whereas the original RAZR had a bump where the camera was and then dropped into a waif-like figure, now, it's pretty much the same thickness all the way down to accomodate that battery. It feels much more solid without feeling too substantial. The exact dimensions come in as 130.7 x 68.9 x 9mm.
The screen on the Motorola RAZR Maxx is both bright and vivid. It's Super AMOLED and comes in at 540 x 960 pixels, 4.3 inches (that's a 256 ppi pixel density). We must admit, there's nothing wrong with it at all. But we did feel a little disappointed. Having played with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Sony Xperia S and the HTC One X, there are much sharper screens out there. And so, it does look a little 'last year'.
Interface and OS
If you're looking for the latest and greatest here, you may want to look away. Sadly, the review unit we had was rocking Gingerbread 2.3. Which isn't a bad OS at all - in fact, it's bloomin' great - but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth to not unwrap it to an instant dose of Ice Cream Sandwich. Luckily, this will be upgradeable, so all is not lost. However, you're in Motorola's hands here.
The skin on top is perfectly acceptable. Where older handsets like the Atrix or Defy were almost too heavily skinned, here Motorola has made the whole experience less intrusive. We certainly had no complaints at all. You get 3D animations, several homescreens (only five, we're afraid!) and even a mode that detects when the phone is in your pocket in case you've forgotten to lock it.
There are two offerings here - 1.3MP up front and 8MP round the back for sharper pics. One thing we like is that you can get straight into the camera through the lock screen which certainly helps in a hurry. But if you are in a hurry, don't expect amazing results.
The autofocus likes to take its time and if you're in a poorly lit area, forget it. At least tap-to-focus gives you a little more leeway. And there is a really quite powerful light next to the lens to illuminate those dark places.
You can also switch into the HD video camera mode from this app and it provided some fairly good results. As with most Android phones, it did gripe that there is no option to turn the light on during filming but results tended to be what we expected and not bad at all.
Performance and Battery Life
It certainly seems very last year to be reviewing a phone that has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor. But it just goes to show how you don't need every single bell and whistle because, frankly, the RAZR Maxx whizzes along nicely, thank you very much.
And it's the battery that garners - and deserves - most attention. Aside from the days of the Nokia 6310, this is the best battery we have ever used on a phone. Definitely the best smartphone battery we have ever used. After 12 hours of really battering it (similar use would have had our Galaxy S3 in power saving mode on its knees, pleading for juice), we still had 47% battery left. That is incredible.
In fact, we used over one weekend and didn't charge it from Friday lunchtime until Sunday night and that was with moderate to heavy use and before it died completely. If you're going away to a festival or for a mucky weekend, this is the phone you want to have with you!
- Amazing battery
- Fast and snappy
- Looks great
- Moto UI a pleasure to use
- Nicer shape than the original
- Camera could be better
- So could the video camera
- Screen is vivid but feels very last year
- Comes with Gingerbread, rather than Ice Cream Sandwich
Verdict: This is an example of a company taking notice. It's created a product in the RAZR that looked great but didn't have the best battery power. So it's reinvented that handset and made something amazing. The actual specs of the RAZR Maxx are nothing special. You'll get them and better on many other devices out there right now and a lot cheaper too. But what you won't get is an amazing battery life. Which is really the RAZR Maxx's main selling point. Yes, you'll pay more for this. But if you're a heavy user, it'll pay for itself.
More info: Motorola RAZR Maxx spec